Saturday, August 23, 2008

Reception AAR

Time for an after action review of yesterday's spouses luncheon and Blues Reception.

The luncheon is lovely. I meet some very nice ladies who came in for the yesterday's events. Food and conversation are good. One experienced wife suggests getting gel inserts for the dressy heels since we will be standing literally for hours.

The ladies in charge do an impromptu demonstration of the receiving line. The servicemember introduces himself and his wife to the adjutant, but does not shake his hand. The adjutant introduces the servicemember and wife to the general, who introduces his own wife. Now the demonstration had the general's wife introducing the servicemember and wife to the next party in the receiving line, and so on and so forth. No problem. They remind us that the receiving line is not the place for a lengthy conversation. I leave the luncheon confident I can handle the receiving line.

(On the way back to the hotel, I stop off at the grocery store for gel inserts. The store is incredibly busy for a Friday early afternoon. There is hardly any place to park, and the otherwise very nice C-ville drivers are now grouchy. The students are coming back fast and furious this weekend. School starts on Tuesday.)

Flash forward to the evening. After walking the doggies and hanging in the pool for an hour, I squeeze and jump and twist my way into my Spanx and reinjure my wrist hooking up the waistnipper. (Apparently, that dress-trying-on injury need more time to heal.) Hair coiffed, make-up set, I study my look in the full-length mirror. Something was missing so I grab some pearls, partially to cover the inadvertent necklace tanline that has been created over the last few weeks. Perfect. And we head out the door.

Then the fun begins. I sit down in the car and my breath catches. Ouch! The waistnipper starts digging into my fleshy ribs. As we make the short drive to the school, I grow increasingly concerned about us sitting through a long dinner. (Maybe a little pooch in the front of the dress would have gone completely unnoticed and I am wearing this crazy painful thing for nothing.) It seems we park as far away as possible from the door, so the gel cushions get an early test. And they completely fail. I grimace the whole way and wonder how I am going to stand for hours in these killer heels. Other thing I notice, the deep v-neck likes to become deeper and wider as I walk. I am not used to revealing this much cleavage. A tug on the left shoulder seems to help bring the material back together. A little. Oh boy, I should have put a safety pin in my clutch. This will make for an interesting evening if ol' lefty keeps trying to sneak out.

Luckily we are near the front of the line so I'm not in too much pain or too disrobed by the time I am shaking hands. I give a discreet, quick tug on the left shoulder of the dress before I turn to shake the general's hand. Of course, the receiving line doesn't actually happen the way the ladies lunching said it would. After the general's wife, I am on my own for introductions. Interesting though. The general is a talker and Jack Bauer gets held up in the line, but I just keep moving forward. It's not like I don't say anything other than "Hello, how do you do?" I just keep my chit-chat brief. Everyone is very gracious. At the very end of the line, there is a "girlfriend." I feel bad for her; no ring but still has to be in a receiving line, yikes.

All hands shook, I arrive at the end of the line and wait for Jack. Our photo is taken and then we are on to the rest of the reception up in the fifth floor hall, with each step becoming slower and more painful and me grumbling "I hate these shoes," all done with a smile, of course.

At the reception, some of the first people we chat with are Cool Wife and her husband. I have a small glass of punch in my left hand, which I am holding fairly close to my chest. Her husband points in that general direction and asks, "What's that?" I lean over to Cool Wife and ask if her husband is referring to my breasts or my drink.

I meet many of Jack's instructors, all seemingly very funny, or at least they think they are. For everyone being all dolled up, the evening is very relaxed. (Our law school had a big reception like this every year, and last night's event had the same feeling: a cool but dressy drinking-dining date.) We circulate about the room, enjoy hors d'oeuvres and drinks, stopping at the tall bar tables long enough for me to get a sufficient break to shift some weight off of my feet if only for a few seconds. How could I have ever liked these shoes?

After the sun sets, we walk out on to the the balcony and enjoy the evening view and decidedly pleasant air and, ahhh, chairs. I give my feet a break but the waistnipper pokes back into my ribs. (I am really going to have to do something about this. The next fancy dress needs to be worn sans nipper.) Sitting down, the dress definitely wants to open wide in the front. I keep fidgeting with the left shoulder trying to discreetly wrangle ol' lefty back into a slightly more acceptable state of coverage. It is a losing battle.

With dinner reservations at 9 PM, we gather up the posse and turn to walk out when the general stops with one of our members, the class leader. First of all, what is the general still doing there? Second, why is he such a Chatty Cathy? And third, what's with the perfect timing of grabbing the class leader as we are heading out to our fancy dinner?

Dinner is at a local steakhouse with the class leader, his wife who flew in for the weekend, and Jack's platoon sergeant. Mrs. Class Leader is a riotous blend of southern graciousness, conservative politics, and beer. She and I hit it off perfectly. She even loves may snorty laugh. We talk so much over dinner, I can't even remember if the steak is good. Now the mashed potatoes are divine as is the creme brulee.

Dinner over, we get outside, and I can't stand it any longer: the shoes come off. By this time, the nipper, having been adjusted several times in the ladies' room, has folded itself over and is creating an unsightly pooch (hmmm, wasn't that the EXACT thing I was trying to hide with this hideous thing?)

Anyway, we get back to the hotel, change clothes, and meet up in the lobby for more gabbing. Mrs. Class Leader brings down some beers in her D&B tote. The news is on, covering the democratic VP pick. We talk and laugh (and I snort) until 1:30 AM. Neither Jack nor I can remember the last time we stayed up that late.

The night over, it was a successful evening. Especially since my left nipple never made an appearance.